ARLINGTON, Texas — Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 21 points to lead the Dallas Wings to a late comeback and 84-82 win over the Indiana Fever at College Park Center. Dallas won its third straight home game in what was the first game for both teams following the WNBA All-Star Break.
Dallas overcame a 63-53 deficit after three quarters to rally to a win in the final minute of regulation, getting past a Fever club that shot over 50 percent for the game. Diggins-Smith scored eight points in the final period and rookie Allisha Gray added 10 of her 12 during the Wings’ 31-19 assault in the fourth quarter.
After shooting 32 percent over three periods, the Wings whittled their way back into contention with 60 percent shooting in the final quarter, and tied the score at 80 on a jumper by Glory Johnson. Kayla Thornton’s baseline drive gave the Wings their first lead of the second half, but Indiana’s Erica Wheeler knotted things at 82. Gray’s 16-footer gave the Wings their final lead with 45 seconds to play.
But the Fever weren’t done. Wheeler missed a 3-pointer for the lead on the ensuing possession, and had a second look after an offensive rebound by Candice Dupree. After a timeout, Indiana made a last-gasp effort beginning with a necessary stop on the defensive end.
Pressuring Diggins near midcourt, Briann January’s steal with 5 seconds left set up a final scramble. January dribbled through traffic past midcourt and found Wheeler for a 3-pointer on the baseline. The shot beat the buzzer, but missed the mark, bounding off the back of the rim as Indiana lost a heartbreaker and fell for the seventh time in eight games.
January paced Indiana with 16 points. Natalie Achonwa was perfect on three shots and added seven free throws for 13 points. Dupree added 12 points for Indiana, and Tiffany Mitchell contributed 10 while inserted into the starting lineup for the first time in a month. Wheeler finished 3-of-11 from the floor, adding seven points and matching a career high with nine assists.
Rookie Erica McCall added career highs nine points and five rebounds, pitching in four points during an 8-0 Indiana run for a 12-point lead late in the third period. Her running layup staked the Fever to a 13-point bulge, 68-55, in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.
“Unfortunately, [Dallas] went on a run in that fourth quarter, and we couldn’t hang on,” said Dupree, who paced Indiana with six rebounds. “I thought we did a good job on our game plan. We knew they were aggressive and they to drive things down low. We tried to keep them away from the basket.”
Reflecting on the loss and Indiana’s success in limiting Dallas fast-break offense, Briann January added, “It was a hard-fought game by both teams. Our transition defense did a really good job tonight and it was helped by our patience and execution on offense. It was a point of emphasis for us. We did a great job on that.”
Indiana returns to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday to host the New York Liberty at 7:00 p.m.